India on Friday urged restraint while expressing concern over the killing of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike by the United States at Baghdad’s international airport in the early hours of the day. Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, was killed in an airstrike ordered by United States President Donald Trump, according to the Pentagon.
“We have noted that a senior Iranian leader has been killed by the US,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. “The increase in tension [between the US and Iran] has alarmed the world. Peace, stability and security in this [West Asia] region is of utmost importance to India. It is vital that the situation does not escalate further.”
Earlier on Friday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei named Esmail Qaani, the deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards’ foreign operations arm, as Soleimani’s replacement, Arab News reported. He also vowed revenge for Soleimani’s killing, the Tehran Times reported. “With his departure and with God’s power, his work and path will not cease, and severe revenge awaits those criminals who have tainted their filthy hands with his blood and the blood of the other martyrs of last night’s incident,” Khamenei said.
The US strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF.